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Chemotherapy is a common treatment for cervical cancer. If you have this malignancy and are about to begin treatment, the following information can help you understand what to expect so you will feel better prepared. Here are some things you should know about receiving chemotherapy for cervical cancer.

1. Chemotherapy is usually administered in cycles.

Chemotherapy is often given in cycles spanning the course of several weeks. After a cycle is over, the patient will begin a recovery period to allow his or her body to recover from the side effects of treatment.

2. There are several different kinds of chemotherapy for cervical cancer.

Different chemotherapy drugs are used to treat different stages of cervical cancer. The type of chemotherapy you receive will depend on the stage and location of your cancer, and you may even receive a combination of different drugs. The most common types of chemotherapy used for cervical cancer treatment include:

  • Cisplatin
  • Mitomycin
  • Carboplatin
  • Irinotecan
  • Paclitaxel
  • 5-fluorouracil (5-FU)
  • Topotecan
  • Ifosfamide
  • Gemcitabine
  • Docetaxel

3. You will likely experience side effects.

Chemotherapy destroys cancer cells but can also damage normal cells in the process, causing a range of side effects. The specific side effects you experience, if any, will depend on the chemotherapy drugs you receive, as well as the dosage and duration of your treatment. Common side effects of chemotherapy for cervical cancer include:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Hair loss
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mouth sores

4. Your treatment may also include radiation therapy.

To address some stages of cervical cancer, chemotherapy and radiation therapy may be administered together (concurrent chemoradiation). Certain chemotherapy drugs such as cisplatin and 5-fluorouracil can make radiation therapy more effective. Chemotherapy may also be administered before and/or after radiation therapy.

If you would like to learn more about chemotherapy and other treatments for cervical cancer, request a consultation at Moffitt Cancer Center. With or without a referral, you can call 1-888-663-3488 or complete a new patient registration form online.